By John Hornblow
We live in Palmerston North, a city of about 80000, home to over 120 different ethnicities. Within the city, All Saints Anglican Parish is engaging with many born beyond our shores. There are many ‘strangers among us’ that we want to welcome and support.
Some ways our church community offer welcome and support include: resettling Afghan and other refugees, teaching English to eager students, offering hospitality to our large Bhutanese community and ministering to international students and staff at our tertiary institutions. It’s all about offering friendship, the opportunity to feel safe in a community again, maybe an invitation to attend a Bible study group or be included in a worship service.
These are all great beginnings. However, often these ministries operate unintentionally in silos. To bring these different ministries to the awareness of our church community we’re spending a month in August centred around ‘The Gospel crossing cultures in Aotearoa.’ During the month we’ll provide space in our worship services for people to tell stories of the Gospel crossing cultures and what that looks like for them. We’ve also invited Steve Maina to share about the challenge of integrating into a western culture. We’ll hear stories from the Wellington Chinese Mission about the excellent work they do amongst their people. We’re looking forward to many others who will share their journey of being strangers and becoming family within Aotearoa.
We hope this will deepen understanding, stimulate prayer, gain support and provide encouragement. It’s more than just learning what we do, but about discovering that crossing-cultures and welcoming ‘strangers’ is central to the Gospel we’re called to live.
This is one way we’re seeking to be more aware of the ‘strangers among us,’ helping our parish engage with the reality of life for many people in our neighbourhood and discover the cross-cultural mission opportunities in our own backyard.
What cross-cultural opportunities exist in your own neighbourhood?
How is God calling your church to respond?
Exploring today’s missional issues from a variety of angles, each edition of Intermission will equip you and your group to engage with God in your community and beyond. Why not take up the challenge and start using Intermission in your community? For more information or to order copies click here.
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